Only with your best face!

The 2nd year students finished a “mini presentation” assignment where they had to use only words and gestures to describe how to make a very easy food item (most of them Japanese). Examples are rice balls, rolled egg, ham sandwich, potato salad… Anyway, they had to script what they’d say first, with pictures showing the…

Eat Club, why is that not a thing?

I’m currently grading the first year students’ introduction assignments. They have some basic questions — what’s your favorite book, TV show, food, singer, etc. — as well as a few asking about their high school life like which club they joined. Out of all the answers, I think this one is my favorite: Eat club?…

Opinion Writing in a Different Country

I find cultural differences fascinating. Our personality and knowledge and habits, when we think of it, are made up of some many influencing factors. Environment, economical, gender, parental, societal, cultural…And nowhere is that more clear than when you’re teaching adolescents in another country.

The last class with the 3rd Years

This term was the last one in which I had classes with the third year students. They were the grade level I mostly taught this first year in Japan. I don’t know if I’d count them fully “my” students — I came in the middle of the term in August — but we had some…

“Boys don’t cook”

We’re doing presentations in class today and since the lesson from the textbook was instructions, I had the students write a simple recipe in English, then present it in front of class with some sort of visual — poster, PowerPoint, etc. Did I know that some of the groups would consist of only boys? Yes. Was I…

The First Week: a New ALT’s Journey

Whew! Who knew that the first week of school would go by so quickly and be so tiring? One thing I was impressed by when I first saw my weekly schedule was there were a lot of blank spots in my schedule. In America, I had one planning period (50 minutes) a day which I…

First Day of Classes

So before anyone says, “You’re just starting school? I’ve been working forever,” in Japan teachers don’t have summer break. So, while classes begun today, I’ve been working on lesson plans, schedules, etc. But today, I had my first lesson with non-Native speakers. And it went just fine. One thing I kept reminding myself: Don’t forget to speak slowly!…

no pressure

Opening Ceremonies

I tried to sit in the folding chair in a relaxed way. I’m not nervous. When my JTE, M-sensei, had asked if I was, I had admitted to being a little nervous. He had casually answered, “Well, there will be 1,000 people in the gym.” I laughed. “No pressure,” I answered. I heard the principal, who was doing…